‘Religious at the United Nations’ Names Sally Dunne Project Director for Hilton-funded U.N. Initiative
By Sally Dunne
Since the early days of congregational presence at the United Nations, when a handful of them began to apply for official U.N. accreditation as NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) more than 25 years ago, the numbers have grown significantly.
Today, RUN members number about 60, representing more than 200 congregations with some 100,000 members serving in 177 countries. Through coalitions, federations, partnerships, etc., they are represented by 29 U.N.-accredited NGOs.
For some time, members of RUN have discussed and lamented their lack of capacity to function in a more collaborative manner, which would enable not only more effective joint advocacy at the United Nations but also enhanced communication with and education of their members on the ground regarding the pressing global justice issues of the day. To this end, the group has received funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to be used for the following purpose:
To undertake a one-year, facilitated planning process through which Religious at the United Nations can assess modes of analysis, advocacy styles, means of communication and effective collaboration; articulate a collective vision; and identify and assess the feasibility of various strategies and partnerships that might allow RUN to build on current practice moving forward.
The long-term hope for this process stems from a desire to strengthen the advocacy capacity of RUN and its congregations’ members on the ground to pursue a collaborative, strategic, highly impactful global justice agenda. With funding from the Hilton Foundation, RUN has begun the one-year planning project, and I, Loretto’s U.N. NGO representative, have been named project director.
In June, a planning committee was established consisting of 12 volunteers from RUN. The committee will operate on behalf of, and in cooperation with, the members of RUN to explore how the group might respond more creatively to the challenges presented by the grave global justice concerns of the day and to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the global advocacy energy surrounding the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.
At this pivotal moment in U.N. history, RUN is poised to investigate potential strategies for leveraging its global network and enhancing its collective advocacy efforts to address these global justice challenges and to ensure a just transition to a sustainable, equitable model of development for all peoples and the planet.
The planning committee has engaged a strategy consultant and a research firm, established four working groups and begun creating the survey/assessment tools and methods to determine the desire and ability of our members on the ground to collaborate with RUN in this endeavor.
Our members live and work with the world’s most marginalized people. The collective impact this vast global network can have on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, with the commitment to “leave no one behind,” is our driving vision as we move toward a more collaborative approach to global advocacy.